Neighbors

Poor Lynn.  Normally I think she would stay out past the dinner hour and stay up until 11pm or midnight.  Traveling with me, in tiny hotel rooms, she is kind of forced to turn the lights out by nine.

I’m not a night person, but I could certainly stay up until 11 if I wasn’t always exhausted in the evening thanks to Restless Legs.

At the guest house, I went to fetch an extra wash cloth to clean up before going to bed.  On the way back I encountered a trail of Chinese guests carrying chairs and booze bottles into the room next to ours.

“Um, things don’t look good,” I told Lynn as I stood with my back pressed against the door.

“Are your legs already creepy crawly?” she asked.

“No. We’ve got neighbors.”  A din or boisterous voices began to build up on the other side of the wall.

“Listen to that woman’s laugh!” I said in astonishment.  Some people just have loud, braying laughs.

“I can picture her—she’s either the life of the party or the one everyone dreads arriving.” Lynn said.

I knocked on the wall and there was immediate silence.  This lasted about three minutes, then the laughing woman said something declarative and the talking began again accompanied by loud music and the sound of the door banging over and over.  More guests must be arriving by the moment.

“How annoying!” Lynn said.  “Do they think the music will help cover up the talking?  This is really not on!”

Dealing with noisy neighbors is always tricky.  I recently tried to talk to a “neighbor” about his barking dog.  I thought we could work it out between ourselves.  But he—flanked by his barking, snarling Doberman and surrounded by four lunging pit bulls—went straight to “Fuck you!  Go ahead and call the cops if you don’t like it!”

Which is really irrational when you think about it.

“Okay, if that’s what you want me to do,” I said as I walked away—fast.  He lived on the next block, and as I fled some of the guys in the alley who were working on cars informed me, “He ain’t even ‘sposedta be living there.  It’s a vacant house.”

Would this encounter with me make him go postal, or cause him to skedaddle onto the next vacant house?

I double-checked all my door and window locks that night and looked around carefully before exiting the house the next morning.  Nothing bad happened.  And I haven’t heard the dog bark since.

I pounded on the wall and yelled, “Quiet!  Quiet!”  Lynn gritted her teeth.  At me or them, I wasn’t sure.

“It is only 9:30,” she said.

I sat back on my bed.  “So should we wait until 10 to go talk to them?”  Lynn looked distinctly unexcited at that prospect.

“There are so many of them—they must have more than one room.  This whole floor is empty except for these two rooms, I think,” she problem solved from our side of the wall.

I put in my earplugs.  In the morning Lynn reported they had partied until 1am, when they abruptly vacated the room.

“I feel a bit bleary,” she said.

“I feel great!” I replied.  “No RLS last night, for the first time in ten days!”  It’s amazing how quickly the body and mind refresh after one good sleep.  I prize these nights because they are so rare.

We had breakfast at a deli called Dean & Deluca. It seemed to cater to the expat crowd, with western style and Japanese dishes and a full stock of groceries, including ketchup.

Lynn had read about a paper shop, Wagami no Mise.  We found it despite its having no website, accurate mapping in Google, or signage. We spent an hour or so drooling over the beautiful wrapping paper, festival banners, cards, and origami papers.  I bought a load of paper and have no idea what I’ll do with it, but it was all so beautiful.

We located the bus stop from which we would travel to our cooking lesson.  We had a snack before boarding our bus: macha tea and a green bean bun.

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